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How To Support The BU Graduate Workers Union Strike

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

On March 25, the Boston University Graduate Workers Union went on strike following the failure to reach an agreement with university officials for a new labor contract with better pay and benefits.

BU employs these graduate students to fulfill a range of duties, from assisting professors with grading and teaching to researching and doing clerical work, all of which have been paused during the strike. The union, associated with the Service Employees International Union, has said it hopes this halt in a major portion of academic operations will motivate university officials to concede to their demands.

The union had warned they would begin a strike if an agreement wasn’t reached by March 25. Since then, the strike has been in full force and gained nationwide attention, including from influential politicians such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

If you’re a BU student, chances are you’ve seen the BUGWU picket lines on your way to and from classes. The union has created a home base of sorts in central campus on Marsh Plaza, with some strikers picketing up and down Commonwealth Ave.

If you don’t know much about the strike and the union’s mission, you can check out their website, which features FAQs for undergraduate students. Both the Daily Free Press and BU Today have also reported on the strikes. (Disclaimer: unlike the Daily Free Press, BU Today is published by the BU Marketing and Communications office and isn’t student run).

Personally, I support the grad students’ decision to strike and was curious about how to support their goal of better and fairer compensation. If you feel the same, here are five ways you can make a difference, according to the union’s website!

Donate to the strike fund

The university has suspended pay for all striking graduate student workers. In response, the union has created a BU Graduate Workers Union rank-and-file Support Fund. This fund helps union members support themselves financially while continuing to strike.

Send a message to the university

Per the BUGWU website, another way for undergraduate students to get involved is by sending a message to the university voicing their support for the union. The greater the number of student supporters, the better the outcome can be for the union.

Avoid Giving Information About Whether Your TA IS Striking

The union advises ignoring all university emails requesting information about the status and attendance of graduate teaching assistants/teaching fellows in your courses because the university may punish graduate students that they can confirm are striking.

Talk to Union Members

With our campus located on Commonwealth Ave., it’s so easy to talk directly to union members. Consider stopping for a few minutes in Marsh Plaza and getting direct insight from unionized graduate students about why they have joined the strike. While you’re at it, you can also ask about additional ways to show support. Union members are typically more than happy to talk about their cause.

Stay Informed and Spread the word

Follow the union’s socials (@gradworkersofbu on Instagram and @gradworkersofbu on Twitter/X) to get direct and timely updates about the status of the strike. Make sure to also consume news about the strike and learn how it impacts you directly!

Finally, spread the word about the strike on socials and by word of mouth, and let your friends know about all the ways they can support BUGWU too!

Hopefully you feel more empowered to support your BU peers, Tas, and TFs!

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Kate Rekas is a freshman on the writing team at the Her Campus Boston University Chapter. She was a writer and editor on her high school's newspaper "The Spectrum." She also is a member of the multimedia team on "The Daily Free Press," Boston University's independent and student run newspaper. In addition to writing for Her Campus, Kate is a member of the Boston University Figure Skating Team, and is still exploring different majors to pursue. When not studying or skating, Kate is exploring the city of Boston, and seeking out as many sunset watching opportunities as possible!